Mohegan Sun plans to break ground on its $5 billion integrated casino resort in South Korea in May. Known as Inspire, the property is located adjacent to the Incheon International Airport, and will be equipped with its own air terminal.

Mohegan Sun casino Incheon South Korea

Mohegan Sun and Paramount Pictures are teaming up for a theme park at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport. (Image: Inspire/Viacom/Casino.org)

The gaming unit of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, the company announced this week that the first phase of Inspire will cost $1.6 billion and feature a foreigner-only casino with 150 table games and 700 slot machines. The complex will offer 1,250 five-star hotel rooms, 15,000-seat arena, spa, numerous restaurants and retail shops, and 204,000 square feet of convention space.

Mohegan Sun additionally revealed that it has reached a deal with Paramount Pictures to build a theme park based on the Hollywood studio’s movies. Casino resorts in Asia have recently begun incorporating theme parks into their properties in an effort to attract families.

In South Korea, Jeju Shinhwa World has not only a casino, but also an amusement park that’s built around brands and characters developed by well-known Korean 3D animation company TUBAn. In Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa has a Universal Studios theme park.

Inspired Incheon

Mohegan Sun originally planned to have the first phase of Inspire opened in 2021. Now, the casino operator says it will need another year before taking its first guests.

As for the Paramount theme park, that won’t open until 2025. But Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said the theme park shows the company’s commitment to further developing the “integrated entertainment resort concept.”

Incheon International, which sits on Yeongjongdo Island, is set to become South Korea’s version of the Las Vegas Strip.

Along with Inspire, Chinese real estate developer LongRunn International is building a more than $4 billion complex called Diamond City. The planned development is much more than a casino resort, however, as the proposal includes schools, hospitals, residences, and “K-pop theme parks.” It would also be accompanied by a “seven-star hotel.”

Caesars is additionally mulling an integrated resort in Incheon, as is Philippines casino developer Bloomberry. Both companies have purchased land near the airport.

Earnings Diminishing

While Mohegan celebrated the May 2019 groundbreaking and the Paramount Pictures deal, not all was positive during the company’s fourth quarter fiscal 2018 call on Thursday.

The tribal company reported that net revenues totaled $347.2 million, a nearly $15 million reduction from the prior year. Gaming revenue was down more than five percent to $291.1 million.

Consistent with the company’s updated guidance, consolidated fourth quarter revenue and Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) were below prior year results, in part due to the impact of a recent competitive opening in the northeast gaming market,” a Mohegan Sun statement read.

MGM Springfield, the $960 million property located just five miles from the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, is presumed to be poaching gaming dollars out of Connecticut. The Mohegan’s namesake casino is located in the southeastern part of the state, as is Foxwoods, the other tribal gaming resort in Connecticut.